It was 6 am on a Saturday. I was wide awake and staring at myself in the mirror – puffy eyes, dry hair, and sore muscles. I picked up my toothbrush to begin my day. All I needed was a mildly scalding hot shower to wake me up. I braided my hair and slipped into my favourite yoga pants and a t-shirt. I thought it wouldn’t be so bad to try yoga. After all, it didn’t look too difficult. It was only when I got to my second suryanamsakar did I realise my folly. My hair was undone; I was sweating and looked nothing like those graceful yoginis one sees on Instagram. However, my instructor was patient and allowed me to rest between asanas which helped me understand how important it was to take it slow.
I was in search of a break and I got this wonderful opportunity to visit Bekal in Kerala. Mangalore is my native place and the farthest I’ve gone down south is the Kerala border. In fact, my aunt lives just 40 minutes away from the border. I’ve spent many weekends there and this time, it was Bekal I got to explore. It’s a tiny area in Kasargod District in Kerala. Kasargod lies at the northern most tip of Kerala, touching Karnataka. To get to Bekal, I flew down to Mangalore and took the highway across the border into Kerala.
I am superstitious when it comes to travel. If my journey starts off on the wrong foot, my entire trip is ruined. My trip began with a rather unpleasant flight. Air India, in my opinion, has to be the worst airline. They are delayed almost always, make no announcements, serve terrible food (cold cucumber roll at lunch), and some of the worst examples of hospitality. Air India just did everything possible to let me suffer on my short flight. Fortunately, when I got to Mangalore, everything fell into place.
I was staying at the Lalit Resort & Spa in Bekal. For room rates and package details, you can check out their website. A two hour drive from the airport took me to one of the most gorgeous resorts I’ve seen. I was not paid to say that so you better believe me. I drove into the lush 26 acre property which carries the green-white theme in its landscape. It means they grow only white flowers to complement all the greenery around.
The resort surrounded by the Nombili River and very close to the Arabian Sea. The sweeping gardens are dotted with cabanas where you can arrange a meal or just relax with a book. The resort has 39 rooms, all in cottage formats. My top-level Deluxe Suite gave me a beautiful view of the backwaters and herb garden from my private balcony. My view of the backwaters was interspersed by swaying coconut trees and chirping birds – nothing to complain there.
FOOD & DRINKS
The resort has one restaurant and a bar. Nombili Restaurant has a buffet with continental and local cuisines. They even offer a la carte services. I’m not exactly okay with buffet lunch and dinner because it generally makes way for staid continental cuisine. But here they did have local dishes that made me feel right at home – Onion Vatha Kozhambu, Alleppey Fish Curry etc. Chef Guru is currently experimenting with a Mediterranean menu which I happily volunteered to be a guinea pig for. Nombili Bar stocks only wine and beers. Since the resort is a wellness resort, they discouraged consumption of any other spirits. So commercial beers and choicest wines are available.
My morning yoga session at the Rejuve Spa session was followed by the Abhayangam Ayurvedic Massage (Rs 4000). It’s a full body massage using three different oils and long strokes to improve blood circulation. Almost all the herbs used in making oils are grown on their grounds. Steam and sauna complete the treatment. The spa has 13 treatment rooms, lounge area, and a yoga centre. Lemongrass scent seems to be the common thing at the spa.There are two wings here – one where specialized treatments happen and the other wing has western and ayurvedic spa rooms.
The entire property has various sized cabanas the concierge will happily arrange lunch or dinner here. We chose the machan located by the sea to enjoy a lovely meal. It was simply amazing to hear the crashing waves while drinking fine wine and lamb chops.
The only five star property in Kerala to own a houseboat. This kettuvallam is a one bedroom boat with a lovely common room and dining area. Our Kerala Sadya was arranged here. Meen Pollichettu, Beetroot Pachadi, Cabbage Thoran, young ginger pickle and so many delicious things made it on my banana leaf.
My favourite things at The Lalit Resort & Spa, Bekal
- Complimentary foot reflexology and coconut water at check-in
- Little golf cart to drive you around the property
- Free-to-use bicycles at the resort
- Easy access to the beach
- Massive bathrooms with attached Jacuzzi in every room
- Little jar of banana chips placed in each room; can be refilled upon request, free of charge
- AUM Shop where herbal products, shawls, candles, and many such curios are sold
- Cultural activities arranged on ground by their in-house activity manager
- Flexibility and customization of services to suit a guest’s needs
- Plenty of little nooks and corners to relax under a tree and read
This was my first five star experience in the South and it has set the bar pretty high. My four day stay here was filled with rich experiences, homely food, warm people, and a will to continue yoga back home. In the coming days, you will see a few more posts on what I did during my four day mini vacation at Bekal. Stay tuned.